"Seven Daughters of Eve. The Science That Reveals Our Genetic
by Brian Sykes
In 1994 Professor Bryan Sykes, a leading world authority on DNA and human
evolution, was called into examine the frozen remains of a man trapped in
glacial ice in northern Italy. What made Sykes's story particularly
revelatory was his successful identification of a genetic descendent of
the Ice Man, a woman living in Great Britain today.
In The Seven Daughters of Eve, he gives us a firsthand account of his
research into a remarkable gene, which passes undiluted from generation to
generation through the maternal line. After plotting thousands of DNA
sequences from all over the world, Sykes found that they clustered around
a handful of distinct groups. Among Europeans and North American
Caucasians, there are, in fact, in seven.
This conclusion was staggering: almost all people of native European
descent, wherever they may live throughout the world, can trace their
ancestry back to one of seven women, hence, the Seven Daughters of Eve.
Naming them Ursula, XENIX, Helena, Vela, Tara, Quatrain, and Jasmine,
Sykes has created portraits of their disparate worlds by mapping the
migratory patterns followed by millions of their ancestors.
This discovery led Sykes to a larger conclusion: that almost every one of
the 650 million modern Europeans has an unbroken genetic link to one of
only seven women in the ancient past Sykes assigns names to these seven
daughters of Eve and presents likely details of their lives and travels.
An artist's impression of Mitochondrial
who probably lived in Africa, about 150,000 years ago.
Over the past decade research in Oxford and other universities
throughoutthe world, has shown that our mitochondrial DNA (or
mtDNA for short),which is inherited exclusively through the
maternal line, uncovers agenetic legacy which has been invisible
This female genealogy has created an evolutionary framework going
back150,000 years, and reveals that almost everyone in Europe, or
whosematernal roots are in Europe, is descended from one of only
seven women.Each of them founded a maternal clan whose descendants
make up well over95% of modern Europeans.
These seven women, the 'Seven Daughters of Eve', have been given
thenames Ursula (Latin for "she-bear"), Xenia (Greek for "hospitable"),Helena
(Greek for "light"), Velda (Scandinavian for "ruler"), Tara(Gaelic
for "rock"), Katrine (Greek for "pure") and Jasmine (Persian
You can now find your own place within this genealogy - by far
theworld's largest known family tree. If your roots are in Europe,
you willdiscover which of these women is your ancestor and find
out about herworld.
In other parts of the world, twenty seven equivalent clans have
beenidentified so far. If your maternal roots lie outside Europe,
you canfind which one of these you belong to and how you are
connected to allthe other clans.
Helena's descendants are the most numerous in Europe, having
started20,000 years ago from a hunting family in the Dordogne
region ofsouthwest France. After the Ice Age her clan moved north,
reachingBritain about 12,000 year ago.
Katrine lived 15,000 years ago near Venice. Her clan ventured
north, butmany are still to be found in the Alps. The 5000 year
old IceMan was oneof her descendants
Velda lived among the hills of northern Spain 17,000 years ago
where theyshared the land with Ursula's clan. They spread out
after the Ice Age,some of her clan becoming the Saami or Lapps of
Tara lived in Tuscany in Northern Italy about 17,000 years ago,
when thehills were thick with forests. After the Ice Age, her clan
moved intoFrance and trekked across the dry land that was to
become the EnglishChannel into Ireland.
Ursula lived about 45,000 years ago in Northern Greece. She was
slenderand graceful and hunted with stone tools. Her clan spread
across Europeincluding Britain and France.
Xenia lived 25,000 years ago on the plains beneath the Caucasus
Mountainson the eastern edge of the Black Sea. As the Ice Age
ended her clanspread to Europe and across Asia to America.
Jasmine was born in Syria about 10,000 years ago and her
descendantsarrived in Europe too late to experience the hardships
of the Ice Age.Her clan brought agriculture into Europe.
Discover which Daughter is your Ancestor
The Seven European Daughters of Eve matriarchal groups correspond
to Dr.Wallace's lineages above, and were given names by Prof.
Helena: (Greek for "light") This is our family line of descent and
holdsfor any male or female family member who descends maternally
from afemale Blaies / Blaes. This clan's descendants are the most
numerous inEurope, having started 20,000 years ago from a hunting
family in theDordogne region of the ice-capped Pyrenees in
southern France. As theclimate warmed, Helena's descendants
trekked northward to what is nowEngland, some 12,000 years ago.
Members of this group are now present inall European countries.
Jasmine: (Persian for "flower") Her people had a relatively happy
life inSyria 10,000 years ago, where they farmed wheat and raised
domesticanimals. Jasmine's descendants arrived in Europe too late
to experiencethe hardships of the Ice Age. Her clan brought
agriculture into Europe.
Katrine: (Greek for "pure") lived 15,000 years ago near Venice.
Her clanventured north, but many are still to be found in the
Alps. The 5000 yearold IceMan was one of her descendants. Today
most of Katrine's clan livein the Alps.
Tara: (Gaelic for "rock") settled in Tuscany in Northern Italy
about17,000 years ago when the hills were thick with forests.
After the IceAge, her clan moved into France and trekked across
the dry land that wasto become the English Channel into Ireland.
Ursula: (Latin for "she-bear") lived about 45,000 years ago in
NorthernGreece. She was slender and graceful and hunted with stone
tools. Herclan spread across Europe including Britain and France.
Valda: (Scandinavian for "ruler") Originally from the hills of
northernSpain, Valda and her immediate descendants lived 17,000
years ago andshared the land with Ursula's clan. They spread out
after the Ice Age,some of her clan becoming the Saami or Lapps of
northern Finland andNorway.
Xenia: (Greek for "hospitable") lived 25,000 years ago on the
plainsbeneath the Caucasus Mountains on the eastern edge of the
Black Sea. Asthe Ice Age ended her clan spread to Europe and
across Asia to America.[As Dr. Wallace discovered, the X pattern
is a rare European lineage andis also among the northern Native
Americans such as the Ojibwa andSioux.]
Find out just how close Scotland came to losing the poet to
Jamaica, and the role played by Patrick Douglas
Seven Daughters of Eve
Almost all people of native
European descent, wherever they may live throughout the world, can
trace their ancestry back to one of seven women, hence, the Seven
Daughters of Eve.
Pharoah's daughter -
Queen of Scots. A new book, Scota, Egyptian Queen
of the Scots, by Ralph Ellis, claims to prove that this origin
myth was no made-up story but the actual recording of an Egyptian
exodus that did indeed conclude in Scotland.
Douglas Heritage store opens.
look for Douglas history books in our on-line bookstore.
the Bruce. The 700th anniversary of his coronation was
celebrated on 24th March 2006 others.
Rogues and vagabonds. Not all
Douglases have been goody goodies - read about horse theives, and
slavers. Slaves and tales of daring-do, as the Douglases
hunt down the slave traders.
Douglas Heart. A heart features on many Douglas family coats of
arms, cests etc, including the one at the top of this page.
women. For about £180, the scientists at Oxford
Ancestors will trace ancient maternal ancestry by testing
mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed down from mother to
child and changes little over time.
by DNA. A new research project seeks volunteers to help
prove Douglas connections
Research legends and myths.
Many families have cherished myths and stories about
their immigration to America or other pivotal events and people. We
show you how to determine which family legends are true or false.
you have any questions or comments about the information on this
site, please contact
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This page was last updated on
09 November 2016
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Index of first names